Disney hails “virtual guests” as new revenue stream.
PROVO, UT — It’s a fact of modern life that every one of us clicks to accept Terms of Service without reading or understanding what we are agreeing to. One Utah man found out the hard way that he should always read the fine print.
The next best thing to being there?
Edgar “Sonny” Larson of Provo, UT, recently had some time to kill, so he opened up Google Maps on his computer. As a Disney fan, he quickly zoomed in on the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, and then entered the Street View mode.
“I’d dropped in on Disney parks before in Street View,” Larson says, “but I’d never spent much time there. I usually just look for the churro carts, and then that makes me book my next trip. But this particular day I’d just eaten and wasn’t hungry, so I spent more time just ‘walking’ around Disneyland and California Adventure.”
Before he knew it, he’d spent six hours exploring the parks online. And on his next credit card bill, he found a charge from Disney from that day for $21.50 for a “Virtual Park Hopper One-Day Pass”
“It’s a bargain”
We reached out to our favorite Disney spokesperson, Jun Disney (no relation), for comment.
“Yes, we are now billing ‘virtual guests’ who tour our parks for more than an hour in a single day,” Disney (no relation) said. “And yes, that might seem a bit greedy. But when you think about it, it’s a bargain. We only charge $19.95 plus tax for a virtual visit, but if you were actually here, a single-day Park Hopper would cost up to $177!”
As it turns out, every Disney guest agrees to allow this when paying with a credit card.
“We have it in microscopic terms of service print at every point of sale,” Disney (no relation) explains. “So if you’ve ever used a credit card in the parks or resorts, or shopped online or at a Disney Store, or use a Disney Visa card, or walked through a park entrance with a credit card in your pocket, or flipped past ABC or ESPN while looking for something interesting to watch, you’ve agreed to let us do this.”
And that’s not all: “You’ve also signed over your inheritance and agreed to donate your organs to company executives, but we’re not actually enforcing those terms. Yet.”
Is virtual park admission worth it to you? Let us know in the comments below!
Cover photo of a churro cart at Disney’s California Adventure copyright 2018 Google / Street View.